||born Shirley Ball in Detroit, Michigan
lived in Birmingham, Michigan
||attended Kingswood School,
graduated class of 1976
Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
||attended Washington University, School of Fine Arts, St. Louis,
||visited New York City for
the first time to pursue interests in art and modeling.
||moved to New York City and
began attending The School of Visual Arts on 23rd street at night and
modeled during the day.
Found apartment. Finding an apartment in New York is big and I was
very relieved when I finally found a suitable one.
||Joined Beaumont Modeling
agency in January and began to use the first name "Sylvie" at suggestion of
my agency. Met photographer Richard Vogel at the agency in February
and he took some of the best photos ever taken of me. In spite of this
promising start, by July my agency went out of business and one of the best
NYC agencies- Elite- finally accepted me after many tries. But a day
or two later my phone rang and Elite had changed their mind and told me to
"keep working on my book" on my own. Without a big agency behind me, I
felt I could no longer pursue modeling plus if I wanted to get my BFA, I was
going to have to go to art school full time- during the day. An
adviser at SVA informed me that I could not get my degree by taking classes
at night and I was going to have to matriculate if I wanted to graduate so
in September of 1980 I enrolled as a full time 4th year art student at The
School of Visual Arts. It took me two extra years to get my degree
because I lost credits when I transferred from Washington University and I
was only going to school part time while I was modeling.
Richard Vogel began working for Annie Lebovitz in
the Fall and was assisting her at the Dakota on December 8th for a Rolling
Stone cover shoot with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. John Lennon was murdered
5 hours later. Annie and Richard took the last pictures ever taken of
Although I decided to walk away from modeling, I
never lost my love of the excitement of a photo shoot - the white seamless,
the whirring motor drives, the cameras, the big strobes popping, the
Polaroids, the make up & hair transformation, being spontaneous and
inventive in front of the camera, walking down a catwalk in sable furs,
waiting for the film at the lab. The urgency, the energy, the pursuit
of a great photo was the shared goal and it was fun to be part of a creative
team. There is really nothing like it. I developed a great
appreciation for photography and for the great photographers like Irving
Penn, Guy Bourdin, Richard Avedon, Arthur Elgort, Alex Chatelain, Patrick
Demarchelier, Bill King and Mike Reinhardt to name a few. During the
next 10 years, I would work at 3 secretarial jobs and by 1990 I started
shooting - not fashion, but art.
||attended The School of Visual Arts
full time and received Bachelor of
Fine Arts degree in painting. I also took a lot of photography classes at
SVA and graduated in the class of 1982 although I technically finished
school by December 1981. I studied typography with Ed Benguiat, who
has a type face named after him. Typography and words would later
become a staple in my paintings. I had some other great teachers there like
Jack Potter, Mike Shiffrin, Jackie Windsor, Elizabeth Murray and Ann McCoy.
work force and found secretarial jobs working for two NYC companies:
A wholesale print gallery (schlock) called Avila Graphics (think Dali
signing blank sheets of paper) on 39th Street and a Japanese
interior design firm called IS Design on 11th Street.
||During the last half of
the '80's, which also were the last half of my twenties, I worked as an assistant and
office manager for
Julian Schnabel at various locations in New York City. I visited
Italy for the first time in 1985 and photographed the ruins at Hadrian's
Villa. I traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany in 1987 to assist with a traveling retrospective
of Julian's work. The art scene in Germany was very exciting and
vital. The Germans take their art very seriously and it was refreshing
to see such dedication at their museums. I made a lot of paintings
after I came back from Germany and was using all kind of words in my
paintings, usually found on ordinary printed matter like napkins, tickets,
cigar labels and matchbooks. In 1989 I began to exhibit art with the
late Dean Rolston and Bill Stelling at 56 Bleecker Gallery. I went to
Paris France in
1989 and visited as many art museums as I could, and took many photos.
I met Andy
Warhol twice while working in Julian's studio- and later Andy made fun of
the way I told time in his diaries. I wore a digital watch and told
time by the minute instead of saying "it was quarter of, or half past, or
something thirty." Andy chided me for that. Here you are meeting
your big idol, and he makes fun of you in his diaries. I met Jean-Michel Basquiat at the
nightclub, Area in 1986. Julian made a large painting in
Jean-Michel's honor on the day he died, August 12, 1988. It was a
sparse painting on an olive brown tarp featuring his initials JMB in capital
letters with the date of his death painted in white. Julian also made
a painting for Joseph Beuys on the day he died as well, January 23rd, 1986.
Five days later was another somber day at the office; the Space Shuttle
Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986. I met and worked
with Nick Serota, a
famous curator at the Tate Gallery in Britain who was instrumental in
organizing a traveling retrospective of Julian's work. Julian's third child with his
first wife Jacqueline- a son named Vito Maria, was born during the summer of
1986. Andy Warhol died on February 22nd 1987. Julian painted my
portrait on his signature background of broken plates in 1987. The
painting was exhibited at the Whitney Museum in 1987 and is now in the
collection of movie director Oliver Stone. CVJ
Nicknames of Maitre D's- which I helped type and organize, was published by Random House
in 1987. I left my job working for Schnabel in June of 1989. The
movie Born on the 4th of July was released in December of 1989 and actor Tom Cruise
received his first nomination for
best actor for his role of Viet Nam veteran Ron Kovic but the oscar went to Daniel Day Lewis.
||I began to work as a
freelance photographer. I had purchased a 35mm Nikon film camera
with a number of lenses from Richard Vogel in 1984 shortly before he left for his
extensive travels through Asia and in 1990 I was learning how to shoot large
format photos with a 4
x 5 Speed Graphic. I began to shoot art and installation shots for
galleries and artists.
Art dealer Vrej Bagoomian included me in a Summer group painting show at his
big new gallery located at 555 Broadway. After seeing movie "Born on
the 4th of July" I became interested in using military aircraft markings as
subject matter for art. My work became more minimal as I dropped the
words from my paintings.
||I produced a small
sculpture made of solid cast iron, a rendition of the German "Iron Cross"
from a styrofoam positive with the help of Ron Lessard.
||Made a line of furniture
comprised of pedestals and a coffee table with designer Tom Pedecine.
One of the pedestals was designed to display my Iron Cross. We exhibit
the line with the sculpture at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair
at the Jacob Javits Center.
||I had a solo show of my
paintings of military motifs that included a variety of large paintings of
the British Roundel, that looked like huge targets at the Paterson Museum in
Paterson New Jersey.
||My beloved grey tabby
Trudy dies of unknown causes at the age of 13
||In February, I had another
solo painting show of hearts, which were a continuation of my military
motifs, at the Eighth Floor Gallery in New York City. A German air
squadron used a green heart as emblem on their aircraft, known as the "grunherz"
I must have made about 100 paintings of hearts after finding this motif.
The only artist I could think of that was using hearts as a painting motif
was Jim Dine and I was coming at it from a military angle, same thing with
Kenneth Noland's target paintings; his were ethereal and painterly, mine had
hard edges and served a real purpose on military aircraft.
My beloved grey tabby Max
dies of Lymphoma on August 6th at the age of 17.
||Bought my first electric
guitar in August. Lady Diana is killed in Paris on August 31st in a
senseless automobile accident.
||The internet arrives.
I purchased my first computer in April of 1999- a PC running Windows
98. I send my first email using dial up. I was shooting for a gallery called
Debs&Co on 26th Street in Chelsea. Galleries have left Soho and are
now in Chelsea.
||launched my first website, sylviestock for photography and painting-
(this website which has now, in 2010, been up for 10 years! I must have
migrated the content on this site 5 times.)
Visited London for the first time and made visits to Tate Britain and Tate
Modern had just opened.
Stayed at a wonderful Ian Schraeger Hotel, St. Martin's Lane.
||photographed World Trade
Center attack from apartment window.
||became a webmaster.
||Visited Las Vegas in May
and gambled for the first time. Excelled at Video Poker, deuces wild.
Won $29 with 5 queens. Cashed in before I gambled it away. While in
Las Vegas we learned of The 2003 Casablanca bombings- a series of suicide
bombings that took place on May 16, 2003 in Casablanca, Morocco.
||"reign of hearts" Eighth Floor
"Sylvie Ball" The
Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ
"Sylvie Ball" The
Red Zone organized by 56 Bleecker Gallery, NYC
"Wet Paint" curated by Robert Ellis Patterson at the Mary
Anthony Gallery, NYC
"Beauty Salon" curated by Maynard Monrow at the Barbara
Braathen Gallery, NYC
|"1st Annual National
Juried small works Christmas Exhibition" Juror, Ivan Karp, Chuck
Levitan Gallery, NYC
| "Soon to
be Picturesque Ruins" curated by
Alfredo Martinez, 450 Gallery, NYC
by the Bay" auction to benefit STAT
(Stopping AIDS Together) Bellport, Long Island
with thanks to James Arpad
Museum" curated by Alfredo Martinez
Interactive Productions, NYC
"Entropy-Detritus from the Late 20th Century" curated by Alfredo Martinez, F.P.U
13, 413 East 13th Street, NYC
"Woodstock Wall" organized by Barbara Pensoy and
Vrej Baghoomian, Woodstock '94, Saugerties, NY
"Urban Analysis" curated by Maynard Monrow, Barbara Braathen Gallery, NYC
"The Gift" Dooley Le Cappellaine, NYC
"New Directions '91" curated by Richard Armstrong
Dutchess County Art Association, Poughkeepsie, NY
"Somewhere"curated by Robert Mahoney, Lintas Worldwide, NYC
Exhibition" Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, NYC
"Group Painting Show" curated by Kathleen Cullen,THE Gallery, NYC
"American Rainbow" organized by Marcel Fleiss, Galerie 1900-2000, Paris